Mohamed Salah captained Egypt to the Afcon 2021 final, seeing off host nation Cameroon in a penalty shootout in the Olembe stadium, Yaounde.
Salah and his national teammates started the tournament poorly, losing to Nigeria in their first game and struggling past Guinea-Bissau and Sudan in Group D. They slowly built momentum in the knockout rounds, beating two of the favourites in Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire before persevering to knock Cameroon down to the third place playoff.
Salah has been largely anonymous in the tournament, but his two goals and an assist have contributed greatly to Egypt, who are one of the lowest scoring sides in this edition of the tournament.
Having come into the tournament at the top of his game, it was expected that a title win for Egypt would support the push by many fans for the 2022 Ballon d’Or.
Afcon triumph can put Ballon d’Or odds in Salah’s favour
Salah finished in seventh place in the 2022 edition won by Lionel Messi. The Argentine’s victory on the international stage in the course of the year counted for his victory, in a year in which he outperformed a lot of players individually but failed to lift a trophy with Barcelona.